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McAfee to unveil Java filters

New features that screen out hostile Java applets and ActiveX controls will be introduced for the WebShieldX line.

    McAfee Associates (MCAF) next week will unveil a new feature for its security server software that detects and blocks hostile Java applets and ActiveX controls.

    McAfee also will introduce a capability that lets companies scan outgoing email for banned phrases.

    "We expect the most frequently banned phrases will be 'company confidential,' but it can get down to [the] level of naming a specific project or class of account numbers, if there's a specific format for account numbers," said Gene Hodges, McAfee's director of product marketing.

    Both features will be introduced for McAfee's WebShieldX line at the NetWorld+Interop trade show in Atlanta.

    Separately, start-up company Finjan Software today released the Windows NT version of SurfinCheck. The server-based software for Internet gateways scans ActiveX and Java components for safety. Designed for smaller companies or segments of local area networks (LANs), Finjan's product is priced at $695.

    McAfee's ActiveX/Java applet component will be available by the end of the year as a free add-on feature for its WebShield LX, WebShieldX Proxy for Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0, and WebShieldX for Firewalls on Solaris, for firewalls that support content vectoring. The email filter will ship by the end of the year for those servers plus WebShieldX SMTP.

    "Companies of all different types have an easy-to-manage solution that protects against viruses and rogue applets," said Hodges. "We are focusing here on making enterprise networks even safer for ActiveX and Java applet usage."

    WebShieldX complements McAfee's WebScanX desktop software for clients, which selectively blocks ActiveX and Java applets. The server feature allows selective scanning and blocking for known rogue applets, but also lets a systems administrator exclude specific classes of applets.

    McAfee's brand recognition and wide use of its antivirus software give it an edge in the market over challengers such as Finjan. McAfee is trying to push out of its antivirus niche into the broader network security market.

    McAfee's WebShieldX line allows users to deploy ActiveX- and Java-blocking at a variety of places within an enterprise, depending on how a network is configured.

    "For highly centralized implementations, it's clearly easier to do at a server," Hodges said. "For a highly distributed or mobile population, it will require a combination of distributed servers and desktops. For outside a corporate network, users will want WebScan X [the client software]."

    Existing McAfee customers will get the new features for free; for new customers, the line is priced at about $12 per user for 1,000 users.